Drought Stress and Disease Are Prominent Features Seen Day Two on Kansas Wheat TourThu, 07 May 2015 06:08:27 CDT
Rolling waves of grain and tornadoes are the ultimate Kansas stereotypes, and mother nature was happy to provide both today to some Hard Red Winter Wheat Tour participants. The tour, sponsored by the Wheat Quality Council, roamed through Kansas for the second day on May 6th, trekking on six different routes from Colby to Wichita.
Day two of the wheat tour saw the 92 participants make 305 stops- and come up with a slightly better yield estimate over the course of day two compared to the 2014 crop- but well below the 2013 estimate for the routes that began in Colby and ended in Wichita. The day's average was 34.5 bushels per acre- compared to 32.8 bushels per acre in 2013- and 40.5 bushels back in 2013.
As for the tornadoes- The convoy was comprised of 21 separate vehicles carrying 92 participants from all over the globe, including some who saw their very first tornado on Wednesday evening thanks to the severe weather in the Wichita area.
As the scouts traveled south of Colby, they quickly began to see some of the most drought stricken wheat in the state. The south western portion of the state showed an estimated range from 0-18 bushels per acre. However, when the participants turned east, they began to see some of the best looking wheat so far in the tour. The stretch from Dodge City to Wichita showed a stronger potential, with most fields averaging from 35-50 bushels per acre.
"A worrisome thing that I saw was the amount of stripe rust along these routes," said Romulo Pisa Lollato, the future wheat and forages extension specialist for Kansas State University. "We found stripe rust in five out of 16 samples between Dodge City and Kingman County, and it concerns me because of the area's good yield potentials."
While rain means good things for a wheat crop, one must remember that what is good for the wheat is good for disease as well. Other issues spotted along the way were wheat streak mosaic virus, wheat smut, winter kill, hail damage and the elephant in the room, drought stress.
"In my area double crop wheat acres will have low yields, if they haven't been taken out already," said Scott Van Allen, a farmer in Sumner County, the largest wheat producing county in the state. "There is some really nice looking wheat, but there is also some wheat that just couldn't make it with the lack of moisture. But what did hang on, the rain has helped 100 percent, so I am still optimistic.
A report on Agriculture.Com quoted Justin Gilpin, the executive Director of Kansas Wheat. "Wheat conditions were varied but not unexpected.. Near Colby, in northwest Kansas, wheat yields hovered around 35 bushels per acre. From Colby south on Highway 25 through the town of Lakin, then east into Garden City, wheat was poor. There was plenty of evidence of freeze damage and drought stress, combined with wheat streak mosaic virus in the drought-stressed fields.
"Gilpin adds that farmers along the stretch of Hwy. 83 had a two- to three-inch rain in the last week, which should improve wheat yields somewhat but will be much more beneficial to this fall's crops.
"Even though they have had rain recently, the wheat is too far gone for it to help," says Gilpin, who drove the Green Route (U.S. Hwy. 83 south to U.S. Hwy. 160, then east into Wichita). "The crop was much better as traveled east into Wichita, although we saw evidence of barley yellow dwarf virus in some of these fields."
To read the full report on Agriculture.Com, click here.
One of the first time radio participants on the tour was Jesse Harding with the Rural Radio Network of Nebraska. She shared with us her interview with Oklahoma wheat producer Keith Kisling, who described his wheat crop over the last few years in the Burlington area- just south of the Oklahoma-Kansas line.. You can hear their conversation by clicking on the LISTEN BAR below.
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